On True Love

“True love takes you by surprise… and if it’s really worth something, it continues to take you by surprise. the last thing lovers should do, despite what I had imagined, is agree about everything and share all of each other’s tastes. True Love…means a never-ending clash of opinions and perspectives. If your lover’s already just like you, then neither one of you has anywhere to go. Their character matters not only because you’re going to have to live with it, but because it’s going to shape the person you become.”

– William Deresiewicz, “A Jane Austen Education”

 

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Difficult Truths and Honest Friendships

“True friendship, we think, means unconditional acceptance and support. The true friend validates your feelings, takes your side in every argument, helps you feel good about yourself at all times, and never ever judges you. But Austen didn’t believe that. For her, being happy means becoming a better person, and becoming a better person means having your mistakes pointed out to you in a way that you can’t ignore. Yes, a true friend wants you to be happy, but being happy and feeling good about yourself are not the same things. In fact, they can sometimes be diametrically opposed. True friends do not shield you from your mistakes, they tell you about them: even at the risk of losing your friendship-which means, even at the risk of being unhappy themselves.”
William Deresiewicz on A Jane Austen Education.

Completely and Perfectly and Incandescently Happy

Pride and Prejudice

Blog Challenge Day 5: Favorite Movies You Never Get Sick of Watching

Truly, there’s only one movie that accurately fits into this category. I suppose most people have at least a handful of films that they can watch again and again and again, but I do not. And maybe that’s because I’m just not so much a movie person,  I’d rather turn on a mind numbing TV show or read a book than watch a movie, most times. But yes, there is one movie which I have seen literally hundreds of times.  After the first view in theaters, I counted down the days til it came out on DVD and when it did, I watched it every day (sometimes multiple times a day) for months. I fell asleep to it most nights and I quoted it constantly and it’s my go-to choice when I need to be comforted like after I finished Allegiant and I wanted to stop crying. This movie is my safety blanket, I turn it on and the rest of the world fades into the background for a couple of hours — every single time.  It doesn’t hurt that my best friend, B, loves this movie as much as I do. It’s possible we have the exact same conversations every time we watch the movie together, but like Darcy’s first disastrous proposal, the discussions never get old.

I’ve already discussed how very much I love Pride and Prejudice, and really Jane Austen, but specifically that story. It’s a wonderful story and in the 2005 version, Joe Wright does a spectacular job adapting it into a relatable major motion picture. His casting was brilliant, Keira Knightley, aside from being skinny as a stick, is a perfectly relatable Elizabeth Bennet.  As for Matthew Macfayden, aside from perfectly capturing Darcy’s conflict, I could listen to him speak all day – his voice is like velvet.

And to back me up on how wonderful this story is, even Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory agrees with me.

Any questions?

A Thorough Definition

Blog Challenge Day 3: What Makes You Happy?

I think this has been the broadest prompt yet — so I’ll try to be thorough. Define happiness. Fulfillment? Validation? Elation?  Fangirl Feels? I’m going to have to resort to listography for this one as well, I’ll give you one thing for each of the four “definitions” listed above.

Fulfillment:

I think I’ve mentioned before that I majored in the french language for my undergrad. To date, learning a second language has been one of the biggest challenges that I’ve ever taken on. I’ve put so much time and energy into learning (what felt like) a million different tenses for 5,000 different verbs, memorizing all the grammar rules and memorizing when the grammar rules don’t actually apply, deciphering what was supposed to be “modernized” french poetry from the middle ages, and composing pages and pages of essays…all the nights I felt like I had no clue what I was doing….like I said, learning french was one of the most intimidating and frustrating goals I’ve ever endeavored to accomplish. And the payoff was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I still have moments (days even) where I want to pull my hair out but then, to watch a movie in french or listen to a news reel or read a book in the language I’ve wanted to learn my entire life — it’s incredible. I feel an incredible amount of fulfillment every time I look at how far I’ve come. I’m still not fluent, but I’m getting there. I’ve studied in France once and I’m working on getting back there again. I don’t know if I’ll ever actually use French in my job, but I hope that I do. Even so, even if I never have to use it in any professional capacity, it’s been an amazing journey and I learned so much about myself, what I’m truly capable of. I’ll never regret the time that I put into mastering a second language. Plus they say a third language is even easier to pick up, so maybe I’m take up Spanish or Italian next!

Paris I

Validation:

I believe that a lot of people can relate to this, but I love helping others. I love listening to my friends problems and giving them my advice and helping them work through and find a solution. I feel a huge sense of validation from knowing that I was useful and that I was able to be supportive and aid someone I love through a difficult situation. I took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test recently and my description was dead-on: as an ENFJ (extraverted, intuitive, feeling, judgmental) I always want to bring harmony to an environment, I want to find the potential in everyone and I want to help them fulfill that potential. So yes, helping others to live more cheerful lives, I find a lot of validation in that.

Mel and KT

Elation:

This one is too easy: I love music. I love talking about music, listening to music, playing music. When a favorite band drops a new single or releases a new album? It instantly brightens my day, I can’t even describe it. Arcade Fire is releasing their fourth album, Reflektor, on October 29. You can expect a very, very happy blog post around that time from yours truly, in which I rave about how incredible this band is and how much I can’t wait to see them in concert again (hopefully very soon).

Fangirl Feels:

Really, I already posted a taste of my fangirl feels here when I went on and on and on about Austenland, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen and then later, JJ Fields. (I regret nothing). There are a lot of things that I get at least a little fangirl crazy about, but Jane Austen and P&P are by and large the most consistent (this is the part where I halfheartedly own up to being a twilight fangirl at one point but that’s neither here nor there). Since I already shared with everyone my passion for Austenland, I’ll give you a new Austen-inspired rec: Emma Approved. From the same people who brought you The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (They won an Emmy!), Bernie Su and Hank Green have embarked on a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Emma, in vlog style format. They’re only 5 episodes in so far, but given how FANTASTIC  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was, I can tell you that this is probably worth checking out — it updates on youtube every Monday and Thursday at 9 am (pacific, so that’s 11 am for me in CST). I can promise you though, at some point in the next several months, these people are going to kill me with feels. And it’s going to be so perfect.

7 Things That I’m Loving About Autumn

Life in the Fall

I feel like my life lately has been this crazy whirlwind of activity. Work, French, lunch with my sister, family nights on sunday, yoga with A, skype chats with M, counseling, Coffee Shop Thursday…I’m not sure where all my time is going but I’m not surprised I haven’t kept up with posting more and now that I’ve got myself in a somewhat quiet moment, I can’t seem to think of a particular topic. Instead, I’m going to give you a list of things that I’m really loving right now.

1) Austenland

I saw this last night with my friends, Anne and Popstar, and as a Die-Hard Darcy fangirl, I was swooning (yes, swooning) when I left the theatre. To my credit, so was Anne. This movie…I just love it. I discovered Jane Austen with the release of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, (you know the one, with Keira Knightley, and Matthew Macfayden and that first proposal in the rain?)

…Yeah. That one.

…And I’ve been an Austen fanatic ever since. How could I not see a movie inspired by the very fanaticism which I subscribe to? I even own a tote bag ridiculously similar to the one featured in the move poster! (I don’t know if I’m proud of that fact or not).

So Austenland, this movie was wonderful. The casting was perfect, the acting was flawless and for the record, I typically kind of loathe “rom-coms” but this one was an exception. Or maybe I just always make an exception for Austen-inspired things. Either way, this movie is excellent: 5 stars. Go see it.

2) Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown

My friend, Anne, happens to own this dvd and it’s incredible. There’s two levels, with the intention that one is supposed to be more difficult than the other but honestly they’re both pretty damn difficult- but they feel great. I’ve had other Jillian Michaels dvds but this one is one that I wouldn’t really mind doing everyday.

3) Halloween DIY Costumes

Guys, I thought I was poor as a college student and I’m not totally sure how I was wrong but I feel even more poor now. So naturally, any thing to help me save money? I’m all over it. Pinterest has been wonderful for this. After a certain amount of indecision, I decided to go as Hipster Disney Princess Belle.

What are you going as?

4) JJ Fields

Guys, I don’t know where this handsome brit has been all my life but he was in Austenland and I died from fangirl feels. He pulled off the Regency Era garb just as smoothly as he rocks this leather jacket. Also I’m convinced he’s secretly (or distantly) related to Tom Hiddleston. I just see it.

Bonus fact: JJ Fields also played Henry Tilney, the dashing hero to Catherine Morland in Austen’s Northanger Abbey, so that’s pretty fantastic.

5) American Horror Story: Coven

Anne has been forcing me to watch this, and I really didn’t want to. I hate scary movies and the first two seasons? They looked so freaky! No way did I think I could do it, but I’ve seen the first two episodes and I have to admit, this season looks pretty intense…I think I’m hooked.

6) Change

This season, the last several months, have been reinforcing for me how vital Change is to our lives. I’ve had some really wonderful experiences (like a year spent with incredible roommates) which I never wanted to end, but- and I hate to say it, because it’s so cliche- everything has to end so that you can embark on something new, something exciting, something to wake up your senses and shake down your soul. The best things in life are the ones that you savor while they’re fresh, but the most decadent cake won’t make your mouth water once it has turned stale.

My family has been going through some pretty big adjustments recently, and I thought that the determined solution was such a shame, that it was giving up. I’m beginning to see that I might have been wrong. There’s so much more optimism and positivity in our conversations now, the house feels cleaner and livelier. It takes change to realize you’ve been stuck in a rut, without direction or challenge, and really, that kind of stagnation can be absolutely detrimental to happiness. Interactions in my family have been far more copacetic lately, and that’s something that I can’t seem to get enough of.

DF Event with Taylor

And Finally…

7) My Geometric Cream and Black Boyfriend Cardigan

This cardigan has been one of the best investments ever. It goes with everything and I can wear brown OR black boots with it! Astonishing.

Geometric Cardigan and Sammy